4 Feb 2013

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions is to warn officials from the Troika that without a significant deal on Ireland’s €64 billion bank debt burden, there is little chance of economic recovery in the near future.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with officials from the Troika this afternoon (4pm), Congress General Secretary David Begg said: “The penny hasn’t quite dropped yet on the bank debt, particularly the absurdity of expecting a small economy with a workforce of just 1.8 million to pay a bank debt of €64 billion. It is unjust and unpayable,” Mr Begg said.

He said the Congress delegation will point out to Troika officials that Ireland has already paid a heavy price for the reckless actions of banks across the whole Eurozone.

Figures from the Eurostat* agency show that Ireland has paid more for the bank crisis than any other EU state. So far, the bank bailout has cost us €41 billion, while Germany – with an economy almost 20 times our size – has paid €40 billion. We have also paid more than the UK, France, Portugal and Spain.

“Indeed, the bank crisis has cost every person in Ireland almost €9000 – while the EU average is €191 per person. We have paid almost 50 times more than anyone else.

“Those numbers just don’t add up – and that’s what we’ll be telling  the Troika today,” Mr Begg said.

Congress is to hold a series of coordinated demonstrations, in six centres across the country on Saturday, February 9, in protest at the €64 billion bank debt burden.

The protests will take place in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Sligo.

Mr Begg said that the demonstrations were an opportunity to send a “very clear signal to Europe” and encouraged people from all sectors of society to attend on February 9 and make their voices heard.

“This is an issue that transcends all others….there is no more critical issue facing Irish society at this point.”